Last Friday my good friend and team mate texted me that Bryan crashed badly and was being loaded into the ambulance. They had just ridden up the chair with another one of the regulars and Bryan was egging him on to get the most runs in this season to put Traverse City and Crystal back on top. His first run of the day was a blistering 21.xx with a jacket, we haven't had anything below a 22 all season, he and the other regular were pushing as we always do. Bryan dropped his coat, lined up and lunged through the wand in his normal smooth and powerful fashion, it would be his last start and one of our fellow racers would be the last one to speak with him as he expired in his arms. Hopeful in our hearts from the message of just a crash, myself and one of our friends that works with me at the hospital headed to the Emergency room but the ambulance never came.
We Crystal regulars have been shaken to the core. He grew up in the area, raced in high school with some of those on the Thursday night league. His team is very tight knit and they golf and get together often in the off-season. I've made many runs, shared countless chairs and enjoyed a few cold ones with him and his team mates over the years.
Last night was our seasons final league race and the outpouring of love to Bryan's family and team mates was one of the most uplifting things I've ever witnessed. We all waited at the bottom of the hill as his team mates took their first runs with Bryan's spirit being the last. Post race, his team mate Mike had us crying then laughing in the Vista lounge as we raised our glasses to him and gave great comfort and warmth to his family and all of us.
We'll miss your smiling face, banter and quiet excitement Statman. I'll see you as we rip some big arcs and run a few gates in the next life.